The Future of Apps

To say that apps play a big role in our everyday lives would be an understatement. After surpassing desktop in 2011, eclipsing television in 2014, this year, mobile has cemented its position as the top media channel. According to Flurry’s annual report, an average consumer now spends more than three and a half hours every day on mobile apps. That is a 35% increase in time spent from a year ago, which means that in just 12 short months, the average time each consumer spend on their phone, increased by more than 40 minutes. To put things in perspective, that is nearly twice as much time as the average parent spends taking care of a child.

The industry has grown immensely over last couple of years, and it is likely that it will continue to do so. But what does the future of app development hold? Two of the biggest companies have vastly different ideas about the future. Apple is trying to the make personal computing devices even more personal. It presents itself as a company that combines software, hardware and services into one all-encompassing package. On the other hand, Microsoft is trying to extend its apps to software other than Windows, in order to provide the users with a mobile experience that transcends devices.

Cross-Platform Development

When it comes to platforms, we tend to default Android, iOS, and to a lesser extent, Windows Mobile. Apple has its grip on the high-end market, with no signs of letting go in the near future; Android is seeking “world domination” through devices available at lower prices and Windows mobile simply isn’t growing fast enough. Although developing apps that work easily on multiple devices and platform is not an easy job, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach, we will be seeing a rise cross-platform when it comes to mobile development tools. As a matter of fact, earlier this year, Microsoft purchased the software startup Xamarin, in order to let the developers design app that could run on iOS, Android and Windows platforms.

The Rise of Enterprise Apps

At the end of the decade, we are probably going to see a big shift toward the development of enterprise apps rather than consumer apps. The reason is simple – most consumers are accustomed to free apps, while businesses are a lot more willing to pay up for a product if it promises reduced overall costs and greater productivity. In addition, the enterprise app market is very lucrative; according to a 2015 Vision Mobile study, almost 50% of enterprise app developers earn over $10.000 per month, compared to less than 20% of developers who only work on consumer applications. One more thing enterprises need for success of their app is app marketing. Appency, for example, is covering all aspects of mobile marketing in one holistic service crucial for apps success in today’s oversaturated app markets.

Developing Apps for the Internet of Things

The future is not just about our smartphones and tablets anymore, we are heading into an era of the Internet of Things. Even though current efforts by the developer are not paying off yet, mobile development for the IoT is getting bigger. With the introduction of the Apple Watch and the rising popularity of Android Wear, we are only now starting to see the true potential of wearable technology. At this year’s WWDC, Apple announced a major update to their IoT platform HomeKit – they have built a dedicated app that enables a user to control all devices in his or her home. Now, all HomeKit-enabled devices, from lights to garage doors, can be controlled with a single application.

Global Development

Driven by lower costs and the improved quality of service offered by international developers, global outsourcing will definitely rise in the next couple of years. According to ContractIQ, developers from the US charge $150 per hour, on average; app developer from Eastern Europe or South America charges only $35; while an app maker is even more cost effective. Most people think that lower cost could imply poorer quality; however, offshore developers are more than capable of producing quality work. Furthermore, as smartphones and tablets became a part of everyday life in third-world countries, the technology will surely change the social and economic aspects of life in those countries. Moreover, a recent UNESCO study suggests that new technology could tackle illiteracy and enrich education in developing countries.

Beyond Apps

While many people predict that smartphones will superseded by the evolution of wearable devices and the IoT, some researchers suggest that the  smartphone will become a “central choreographer” in a blended ecosystem of experiences across any connectable device.  This April, Forrester Research published a study, which suggests that in the next ten years, smartphone users will be able to get everything they want immediately upon picking up the phone, without using an app. The information will be brought to users automatically; for example, if you walk in an airport terminal, the device will recognize the environment, and then present you with special deals and ads. Forrester analyst Michael Facemire explains, as smartphones take on more tasks for consumer without the need for apps, the market will become less app-centered.

Nate Vickery is a business technology expert and futurist mostly engaged finding latest technology trends and implementing them into SMB and startups management and marketing processes. Nate is also the editor-in-chief at business oriented blog- Bizzmarkblog.com.

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